Trying to make sense out of all we’ve been through for well over a year now is like wanting an answer to a very human question: “Why, God?” I’ve believed for many of my adult years that if God is synonymous with love, there is no way God would inflict us with such a deadly virus. I tell myself that God doesn’t do that: Life does – life and its fragilities, our fall into humanness, and the testings of time and our world.
I also believe there are lessons to be learned in every tragedy, not all of them positive. My naive vision of America being the land of the Three Musketeers, “All for one and one for all,” has taken a serious hit. Why so many refused to “mask up” and shelter-in-place early on and currently are shunning being vaccinated violates that vision. Freedom was never meant to be selfish. How can anyone not know that freedom is about all of us?
But back to the “Why?” Perhaps the virus is meant to teach us all about compassion, something our world needs desperately these days. Compassion is so much more than feeling sorry for; it lets one feel another’s hurting, tells them they are not alone.
None have been more compassionate than all of the frontline caregivers who have dealt with the virus, literally, hands on. “Heroes” just doesn’t do it when acknowledging them. Those who, in its beginnings, made the pandemic a political playground, seemed selfishly uncaring and ignorant (no excuse for the latter), not believing in what science was demanding. Eventually, history will hold them accountable, while building monuments to those who put themselves at risk to care for others.
I doubt if the pandemic was meant to teach us about the fragility of life; we’ve always known that. Perhaps it’s been a lesson about how we are all connected. Every death in every nook and cranny of our world is still touching, and diminishing, all of us.
The pandemic’s aftermath will tell us what we have learned. While the philosophers try to make sense of the COVID-19 cruelties we will all be living into many and massive changes. The flip side of tragedy is most always new life. The shape of things to come may be elusive at the moment but, believe me, it is happening.